Everything You Need to Know About the Doomsday Vault

From the idea behind a global backup to the
details of its construction, here’s everything you need to know about the Doomsday Vault. Number 10 What Is It? The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, commonly known
as the “Doomsday Vault”, is a facility that houses a vast number of plant seeds in
case of a global catastrophe. The vault is a type of backup for humanity,
which enables it to still have access to crucial resources even in its darkest hour. It was built in a remote part of Norway and
designed to withstand both natural and man-made disasters. Number 9 Why Was It Built? In 1996, after many negotiations, 150 countries
adopted the first Global Plan of Action for conserving and using crop diversity. The Svalbard vault was born out of that initiative. American agriculturalist Cary Fowler, the
man who frequently supervised the negotiations, was instrumental in its creation. The idea of a genebank to hold a collection
of food crops didn’t originate with the Svalbard seed vault. There are over 1,750 such facilities all-over
the world but the Norway vault is both the largest and the safest. Although mostly hailed as a doomsday safety
net, the Svalbard vault also acts as a backup for other genebanks, many of which are exposed
to natural calamities and war. For example, the national seed bank of the
Philippines was damaged by floods and later consumed by a fire. Similar facilities in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan
have been completely lost. The Svalbard vault ensures that plant seeds
are still accessible in cases of global and regional crisis. It’s also a safety net for future generations
which might face challenges such as climate change and overpopulation. Before we move on, answer this question. What is the Arctic World Archive?
a. A storage space
b. A computer program
c. An encyclopedia
d. A communications satellite
Let us know what you think in the comments section below and stay tuned to find out the
right answer. Number 8 When Was It Built? During a ceremony in June, 2006, the prime
ministers of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland and Denmark laid the first stone. The building cost was entirely supported by
the Norwegian government and amounted to roughly $9 million. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault was officially
opened in February 2008 and received its first seeds in January of that same year. Number 7 Where Is It Located? The vault is located inside a mountain on
the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, which is part of the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago. The sandstone mountain that houses the seed
vault is known as “Platåberget” which translates as “Plateau Mountain”. It’s the farthest north anyone can fly on
a scheduled flight, meaning that it’s still accessible despite its remoteness. The location is roughly 800 miles from the
North Pole. Number 6 Ownership and Access
Management of the seed vault is shared between the Norwegian government, the Nordic Genetic
Resource center, or NordGen, and an international non-profit organization called Crop Trust. The seed vault operates under a “black box”
arrangement, like a safe deposit box in a bank. Norway owns the bank but claims no ownership
over the contents of the seed deposit. The samples can only be accessed by the depositor
under the terms of a treaty approved by 118 countries. NordGen maintains the database of samples
and depositors. The Crop Trust handles most of the yearly
operating costs while also assisting genebanks from other countries in packaging and sending
seeds to the vault. The facility accepts funding from private
foundations and various governments worldwide. One of its largest contributors is the Bill
& Melinda Gates Foundation. Number 5 Has It Been Used? As of the making of this video, the Svalbard
Global Seed Vault has only been used once. Because of the Syrian Civil War, ICARDA, the
International Center for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas, had lost access to its seed
bank in Aleppo. In 2015, ICARDA was the first depositor to
make a withdrawal from the bank. This consisted of several samples of wheat,
lentil, chickpea and others, to be used at work sites in Lebanon and Morocco. Many of the seeds have reportedly been re-deposited
since. Number 4 Storage
The samples are kept at a temperature of -0.4 Fahrenheit in three-ply foil packages that
are heat-sealed to prevent moisture. Even though the facility is surrounded by
permafrost, refrigeration units further cool the storage rooms so they reach the international
temperature standard. Each sample is made up of about 500 seeds
which are sealed in an airtight aluminum bag. They’re then deposited in plastic containers
on metal shelving racks. Because the seeds are kept at low temperatures
and have limited oxygen exposure, their aging process is slowed down. Priority is given to crops that play a key
role in sustainable agriculture and food production. As of the making of this video, Norwegian
law prohibits the deposit of genetically modified seeds in the Svalbard vault. Number 3 Design
The vault has three rooms and a total floor space of roughly 11,000 square feet. Even with half of its first room filled, it
still holds the largest seed collection in the world. The vault can store up to 4.5 million samples,
each containing 500 seeds. As of the making of this video the vault holds
nearly 1 million samples. The roof and vault entrance are filled with
mirrors, prisms and highly reflective stainless steel. The materials are part of an illuminated artwork
called “Perpetual Repercussion”, by artist Dyveke Sanne, meant to emphasize the importance
of Arctic light. Because of the reflective materials, the vault’s
entrance can be seen from afar. During summertime it reflects Arctic light
and in the winter months, it’s illuminated by a network of 200 fiber-optic cables. Number 2 Security
Remote location is not the only means by which the vault’s contents are protected. It also has a complex internal security protocol. There are cameras and sensors throughout the
facility. Access to the seeds is achieved through several
locked doors, which employ various security checks. Polar bears that prowl the mountain outside
provide an added form of natural protection. So, what is the Arctic World Archive? The right answer is a, a storage space. Located inside an abandoned coal mine on Svalbard,
it does for information what the vault does for plants. The Arctic World Archive was opened in March
2017 and provides a secure space for the world’s digital heritage and valuable data. Information is stored as code on reels of
film and has a life-expectancy of hundreds of years. When all other systems fail, the archive will
be the backup. Number 1 Durability
The Svalbard Global Seed Vault has certain features that enable it to preserve major
food crops for up to hundreds of years. Some samples, including the most important
grains, could potentially remain viable for millennia. From its entrance, the vault extends more
than 400 feet into the mountain. The facility is surrounded by permafrost. Even if electrical systems fail, it would
take nearly two centuries before the encasing sandstone bedrock would reach 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The vault is located 430 feet above sea level,
which will keep it safe even if the ice caps melt. Additionally, the area lacks tectonic activity
and humidity levels are low. The Svalbard archipelago has also been declared
demilitarized by 42 nations. That being said, the Global Seed Vault can
survive nuclear war as well as a number of natural disasters. Should such catastrophes fall upon the world,
the vault is one of humanity’s best hopes for survival. Thanks for watching! In case of a global disaster, would you rather
wait it out in an underground facility on Earth or embark on a space ark heading towards
another planet? Let us know in the comments section below!

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